Home  >  Flirting Flings  >  Dating Game

60 Best Free Date Ideas to Have a Romantic Time Without Spending Money

Dates can be financially stressful. Truth is, you don’t have to break the bank whenever you want to go out. Here are free date ideas perfect for any couple!

free date ideas

When you think of dating, you probably think of getting drinks, going to dinner, or seeing a movie. These are classic go-to dates, but you shouldn’t have to empty your savings just to get to know someone and have a good time. Why not try free date ideas?

Coming up with free date ideas certainly puts a limit on your options, but don’t get discouraged. Dating on a budget is completely possible. You don’t need to impress a date with flowers and fancy dinners.

In fact, putting thought and effort into creative date ideas shows your ability to be both romantic and practical. And as the adage goes, sometimes, the best things in the world are totally free! [Read: How to have a great first date – 15 things that impress every date]

The importance of going on dates with your partner

Sure, you may spend time around your partner, but how often do you spend quality time with them?

Quality time is essential in any relationship because it’s time spent where people are mindfully invested in one another. Not just sitting in the same room as the other, but actively showing appreciation and interest.

Doing an activity together, displaying affection, and sharing a laugh are all ways quality time enhances the quality of your relationship.

Going on dates is one of the easiest ways to spend quality time with your partner or person of interest. You don’t have to drop a paycheck to strengthen your relationship with someone though.

There are plenty of cheap or free dates ideas you could go on with someone to show them they are the object of your undivided attention.

Date nights build intimacy between two people. They strengthen communication skills, help each partner understand the other a little more, and build a longer-lasting connection.

This is because date nights let us spend time with our partners without any distractions. No kids running around, no job to work, no dishes to clean, or lawn to mow—just you and your partner. [Read: Meaning of dating – how it works, types, 42 signs & ways to date someone right]

How to date without spending money

It can be intimidating to date when you’re on a tight budget because you don’t want to come off as cheap. It can also be embarrassing and awkward to talk about money on a first date or early on in a relationship.

So, how do you go about dating without spending money?

Talk about it. Plain and simple. We know it can feel embarrassing, but letting the person you’re dating know you’re on a budget will override any miscommunications about date plans and help your date understand your situation better. [Read: 17 brilliant yet simple ways to save money as a couple]

You can work together to come up with fun and free date ideas. If your date doesn’t understand your situation, they probably aren’t someone you want to be dating.

So be honest—transparency helps relationships grow. Whether they are in the same boat as you or not, they should be willing to make you comfortable and meet you halfway.

The best free date ideas that are sure to impress your date

Whether you’re sharing a weekly date night with your partner, or are going on a first date with someone you barely know, these free date ideas are memorable, fun, and financially worry-free.

1. Go for a walk

This is the easiest way to date without spending money. Get outdoors and take a stroll. You can walk through your neighborhood or a park. If you really want to go all out, bring coffee from home in reusable travel mugs.

This will show your thoughtfulness for them and the planet. Going for a walk seems so simple, but you get to know each other just as well as you would sitting at a bar, only you get exercise. You don’t have distractions, but you do have things to catch your attention and help guide the conversation.

2. Go on a picnic

Why spend $100 on a fancy dinner filled with weird ingredients and small portions when you can use what you have at home to make a delicious meal and enjoy it outside on a beautiful day?

Use the food you already have to make a salad and some sandwiches and bring some sparkling apple cider. Lay down a blanket on the grass and enjoy your food in nature. [Read: The 20 best and worst venues for romantic picnic ideas]

You can even ask your date what sort of food they would like so you are prepared, and they know you’re thinking of them. A picnic is more romantic than you’d think. It is a sweet way to enjoy a meal together that you made yourself.

3. Go to a park

If you take the time to do a little Googling, you will likely find some parks, gardens, or even an arboretum to explore with your significant other. You can take photos and discover new plants and animals. You may even meet some other interesting people while you’re there.

These places run off of donations, so they are usually free to enter. Then if you really like it, you can return and make it a tradition, and hopefully, donate when you can. A lot of local gardens also offer classes on certain species or how to plant and care for your garden which could be another free date idea.

4. Research local events

Colleges, towns, and cities often put on free concerts, movie screenings, and more at local parks. Research what’s going on in your area and pick something you’re both interested in.

This is one of the best free date ideas because depending on the event, you could experience something new every time! [Read: 47 really fun second date ideas that’ll make anyone want a third!]

5. Try camping

Whether you’re a camping expert or an amateur, a day camping trip is one of the best free date ideas that’ll help both of you bond better. Make some s’mores, set up a tent, or just lay some sleeping bags in the back of the car.

6. Be kids again

Acting like kids again is a great way to build intimacy with your date. So, act like the floor is lava and make your way from the front door to the bedroom without touching the floor. Do a fun and silly game you used to play as a kid. This is a lot more fun than it sounds.

7. Movie night

Sure, Netflix and chill has been a thing for years now, but that isn’t really a date. Instead of inviting your date to your place to watch the first 20 minutes of a cheesy movie, actually plan it out.

Light some candles, clean the room, have a soft blanket in case they get cold, and prepare some snacks. You can dim the lights and actually make it feel like you’re at the movies. [Read: Movie date – how to build sexual chemistry and create a perfect date]

8. Go to a museum

Many museums for history and art are free. You can explore a time throughout history or a new art exhibit together without spending a penny.

This can be fun whether you are interested in history or not. Just doing something out of the norm with your partner is what it is all about. That’s what makes this a great free date idea. [Read: How to not be boring and get people excited to talk and be around you]

9. Volunteer

Volunteering is the best way to give back when you don’t have the budget to donate. It will help you and your date bond and connect over something you are passionate about.

Volunteer together at a soup kitchen, organize donations, or even volunteer at an animal shelter. Scooping litter boxes may not be romantic, but it is a great way to give back to the community and spend time with someone you really care about.

Volunteering isn’t just good for the soul, but making it something you do together as a couple is a great way to keep your connection alive and strong. [Read: 20 secrets to stop being selfish and ways to stop hurting and using others]

10. Go for a bike ride

Exercise is a great way to come together. Choose a spot you and your date want to visit, be it a store or a beautiful view, and bike there. You get to enjoy the fresh air and get healthy but can also add a bit of competition to the mix.

Your date will appreciate this free date idea because it’s a lovely way to just slow down and appreciate the sights around you which you usually don’t have the time to notice.

11. Babysit or petsit

Have a friend that needs a night out? Offer to babysit their child or pet together. You and your date can use this opportunity to “play house” together. This free date idea is seriously way more fun than it sounds!

12. Game night

Hosting a game night is a great free date idea. By pulling out board games or video games, everyone involved is engaged.

Play new games like Cards Against Humanity or go old school with Scrabble and Monopoly. [Read: Conversation games – 15 best talking games for fun and lots of laughs]

13. Be competitive

For a free date idea with a competitive twist, pick a sport and go to your local park and compete. Try basketball, tennis, or anything else you enjoy. Be sure to also have a prize for the winner.

14. Cooking competition

Set a timer and get cooking. See who can make the best meal in 30 minutes or less. Use the same ingredients and see who comes up with the best meal. Or have a simple grilled cheese cook-off.

There are so many options when it comes to cooking! [Read: Cooking as a couple – romantic tips & date ideas to have fun together]

15. Go to the beach

In most states, the beach is free. Not only is the beach a classic romantic destination, but the things to do there are endless! Go for a swim, walk along the shore, search for shells and sea glass, or play volleyball. You could even stay until after sunset and prepare a desert picnic for a memorable night.

16. Teach each other something

Do you have any hobbies or skills you’re good at? Sharing them with your date is a great way to spend quality time and it’s an engaging free date idea.

Teach your date some chords on the guitar. Teach them some photography techniques. Have them teach you how to bake something or fold origami. Learning new things together bonds you through patience.

17. Draw each other

Whether you’re a decent artist or not, this is surely top of the list of the fun and free date ideas. Take your time to do a real recreation or do something funny and abstract. [Read: 65 couples activities and fun things to do that’ll make you feel closer than ever]

18. Window shopping

Window shopping is an underrated way to spend quality time with someone. On this free date idea, you get to learn more about the person you’re with by talking about the future they want to establish.

Walk through the town center, the mall, or anywhere else and just talk about what you see. You can do this at a fancy jewelry store, a car dealership, or an antique shop. Learn about their interests and things they hope to have in the future.

19. People watching

This is one of our favorite free date ideas and a fun way to pass the time too! Just sitting on a bench in a park or the mall and watching people interact with each other can be so much fun.

See how many people are glued to their phones. Imagine what their names are, what they do for a living, and what they’re talking about.

20. Taste test

Cook for each other, blindfold each other, and see if you can guess the concoction. If neither of you is a good cook, you can do the same with snacks. [Read: Foodie dates – 15 trendy dinner ideas for new couples]

21. Take online quizzes

The internet is full of quizzes, ranging from serious personality tests to tests like what type of pizza topping you would be.

Go to Buzzfeed and take endless online quizzes. See if you’re compatible. Discover what sort of pasta you are. Find out which ‘90s hunk you are most like and have fun.

22. Go to an open house

Not only do open houses usually have a decent selection of finger foods, but you can pretend to be a married couple looking to buy! [Read: Are you ready to move in together? The complete 16-point checklist]

23. Find local factory tours

Research local factories in your area and see if they offer free tours. You can check out FactoryToursUSA to see what there is in your location. You can call and find as many don’t advertise this but they usually offer free samples too.

24. Clean out your closets together

This may be one of the better free date ideas for an established couple, but hey, if you want to clean out your closet with someone you just met, don’t let us stop you.

Try on some embarrassing outfits. See what you should toss, donate, or maybe sell for some extra cash for your next date. This free idea also gives you insight into what your date likes to wear and what they think of your style!

25. Do a photoshoot

You don’t have to spend a paycheck on a photo session with a professional photographer. What you can do is head to a cool local spot and do a photo shoot of your own.

Take cool artsy shots of each other and set a timer for a couple of shots. You could leave this date with your new favorite photo. [Read: Tips to take perfect, enviable photos of your girlfriend]

26. Set a world record

Look up some attainable world records to set and try to set one together. This free date idea is a fun way to flex your skills and see what your date is good at too. Just be sure to record it if you want it to be official!

27. Explore without GPS

Have you ever taken a drive with no destination? This is actually a great free date idea!

Buckle up with your date and hit the road with no plan. Follow a sunset or drive until you find yourself in a new, interesting town. You can always turn it on if you actually get lost. [Read: 59 fun things to do on a road trip to create awesome memories together]

28. Do a scavenger hunt

You can find some remade ideas online or make your own. Set up a list of things you have to do or see in your area and accomplish them together.

It can be anything from finding two Starbucks to using a public restroom or finding a penny. This is also a great double date idea so you can compete with others to see who’s the better couple!

29. Build a sandcastle or a snowman

Depending on the weather and where you live, you can do either one. Make it a competition and ask strangers to judge or send photos of your masterpieces to friends so they can vote.

Or perhaps you and your date want to work together. In that case, there are quite a few sandcastle/snowman professional competitions with prizes. Get to searching for one near you and enter your names to win!

30. Go somewhere haunted

Almost every town has some haunted street, house, or location. Search for one near you and head there with your date. You’d be surprised how much adrenaline this free date idea can induce, even if you don’t believe in ghosts.

31. Have a spa night

Who doesn’t love to be pampered? You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a good spa. In fact, having a spa night with someone close to you can be even more romantic than going to a formal spa.

Give each other massages, do face masks, play some calming music, and see where that deep relaxation takes you. [Read: 67 sensual erotic massage techniques and tips to arouse and give an orgasm]

32. Go to a library

We know this date idea seems dull, but hear us out. When was the last time you went to an actual library? Look for books with your boo and talk about what kinds of stories you enjoy. And if books aren’t your thing, there are still plenty of ways you can enjoy the library.

Check out the kid’s section and see if they have your favorite childhood book. Do they still have VCR tapes to rent? Maybe even do a quiet scavenger hunt there.

33. Go to a thrift store

Going to local thrift stores is an underrated but amazing date idea. You don’t have to buy anything, just see what they have to offer. We’re sure you’ll discover plenty of fun and bizarre things together. You can even do a hilarious photo montage in the dressing room.

34. Build a fort

Get comfy at home and build a fort like you did as kids. Toss some blankets over chairs, put the couch cushions on the floor, and watch a movie. [Read: 30 really sweet and romantic ideas for couples to feel loved and connected 24/7]

35. Bury a time capsule

This would be hard to do for a first date *unless you got a memento from earlier in the date*, but if you’re a committed couple, this is a fun way to pass the time together.

Make a time capsule of things that are important to you now, like photos, maybe your favorite shirt your partner shrunk in the dryer, and a destroyed dog toy your furbaby loved. Agree to dig it up in 5, 10, or even 20 years.

36. Run errands

We know this free date idea can seem like a snoozefest, but it can actually calm your nerves for a date and help you really get to see how you mesh together on a daily basis.

Go drop stuff at the post office, pick up groceries, or finally return that awful Christmas present. Do you like each other when you’re doing mundane activities? Does being with them make boring stuff like this more fun? [Read: How to get closer to someone – 15 traits that bring people closer]

37. Get free paint samples and make a feature wall

Many hardware stores offer a free small can of paint. Go pick a color, come home, and paint a feature wall together.

This is one of the free date ideas that builds teamwork and strengthens communication. Plus, it’s fun to get artsy with someone you really like!

38. Try out the massage chairs at the mall

This is a lot more fun than you may think! Like window shopping, go out with your date and look at new items without buying them.

Head to your local electronics store and relax in the massage chairs. Try out the memory foam bed, mess with the fancy stereo on display, and live like pretend kings for an afternoon.

39. Do a photoshoot challenge

Head to a local bodega, a craft supply store, or anywhere bizarre and take some amazing posed photos. Go to the fake flower section and pose in the plants.

Take photos of each other in the cold beverage section of a convenience store and see where your creativity takes you.

40. Show each other funny videos

A sense of humor is a very desirable trait in a relationship. So embrace your humor with your date by watching funny videos together.

Show each other your favorite YouTube videos or your saved TikToks. This could be a recent love or the ones you cried laughing at in middle school. [Read: How to be funny – 28 must-know tips to make everyone love your humor]

41. Go searching with a metal detector

This is only free if you own a metal detector or can borrow one from a friend. Sure, you’ll most likely be digging up bottle caps and pennies… But who knows! You two may get lucky and find treasure!

The real valuable thing you are sure to get from this free date idea is quality time with your date.

42. Do a puzzle

This is a calm activity for those who prefer a relaxing night. Puzzles are a surefire way to work on your cooperation skills. It also gives you an opportunity to talk and get to know each other while working together. [Read: How to get someone to open up to you so you both can really connect]

43. Go sledding

If you’ve ever gone sledding as a kid, we’re positive it was a core memory for you. Well, sledding as an adult can be just as fun if not more. So if you have snow in your area or can drive to the mountains, go sledding!

44. Carve your initials into something

Carve your initials into a tree or park bench, so that you can come back and remember how happy you were on this day. It’s a pretty romantic way to pass the time if you ask us.

45. Find local yard sales

Check out local garage or yard sales in your area and see what sort of weird stuff people are trying to sell.

You may not go into the date planning to spend money, but you never know what treasure you’ll discover. You’ll also get to see your date’s haggling skills.

46. Go to the mall

A mall date was the coolest date back in middle school. Getting free samples at the food court, trying on clothes you can’t afford, and giggling through Spencer’s gifts don’t have to be a memory. Relive those glory days now. [Read: How long should a first date last? The exact timing for a good date]

47. Do some gardening

Gardening is a fun and free date idea for those who don’t mind getting a little dirty. Prune some bushes, pull some weeds, and even plant some flowers or start a garden together. Creating something like this together will feel so productive and rewarding.

48. Rearrange your furniture

Remember what it was like to rearrange your bedroom as a kid? It felt like a whole new space. Do that with your date.

Rearrange your bedroom or living room, and see what suits your space best. Plus, having your date decide where you move furniture is a sweet way to remember them when they aren’t around.

49. Video chat

Sometimes it can be hard to spend quality time with a long-distance date. But with the rise in technology, there are tons of things you can do on a video chat date that are always free. Search the web for video chatting websites if you want to branch out of Facetime dates. [Read: The best virtual first date ideas to really get to know each other]

50. Look at your old photos

Relive the old days by going through your albums, your school yearbooks, or your Facebook. Share the stories behind the pictures and get to know each other more. This is a sweet way to reminisce on your past and share a part of yourself with your date.

51. Plan a fantasy date night

You may not have the funds to do something extravagant but that doesn’t mean you can’t dream. Pour some wine and plan your dream date together. Would you fly to Italy? Would you go to the fanciest restaurant in town?

52. Exercise

If you already pay for a gym membership, you should be allowed guest passes every so often. If your date likes to work out, that is certainly a great way to share an afternoon.

Exercise releases feel-good hormones, combined with being with someone you like, that will make the date very enjoyable. You can run laps, climb an indoor rock wall, or take a class together. This could potentially be one of the best free date ideas.

53. Make a challenging meal

Going out for dinner can cost a lot of money. Another option to spice up a meal from your fridge is to think outside of the box. Cook what you have, but make it fun.

Instead of going for grilled cheese, have your partner pick out six or so ingredients in your fridge or cupboard. Then you have to come up with a meal featuring just those items.

Make your own rules, and next time it will be your partner’s turn. Challenges like this are not just fun but add some healthy competition to your relationship.

54. Stargaze

Despite sounding cliché, stargazing is a romantic, intimate, and exciting free date idea. Nothing beats the tension between you and your date laying next to each other staring up at the stars.

Plan ahead for this date by finding a good spot, bringing comfortable blankets and pillows, and sharing drinks or dessert together.

55. Play frisbee

If extreme sports aren’t your thing, opt for playing frisbee with your date. If you don’t have a frisbee already, perhaps you can borrow one from a friend or rent one for a cheap price.

One of the best parts about this free date idea is that it can be done almost anywhere. Your backyard, the beach, a park, or even on a disc golf field. [Read: 23 fun, romantic summer date ideas to warm your date’s heart & make it melt]

56. Dance in the rain

If you’re stuck inside with your date due to bad weather, make the most of it by going outside to dance in the rain together!

Hand in hand with the person you like while the both of you are drenched by rain will be memorable for the both of you. Splash in puddles, dance, sing, and kiss in the rain together!

57. Write letters to each other

You may text or call the person you like all of the time, but nothing says “I care about you” more than a love letter. If you’re long-distance, this is a great way to show your love and show that you appreciate them.

Even if you’re not long distance, writing letters to each other and sharing them afterward is an intimate free date idea. [Read: 20 romantic secrets & examples to write a love letter & melt their heart]

58. Put together a scrapbook

Whether you’ve been with your special person for years of marriage, or this is your first date, making a scrapbook of your memories together is a great quality time activity. With a scrapbook, you can highlight the amazing moments of your relationship so you never forget how you felt during your time together.

Save dinner receipts, movie tickets, or anything special the two of you did together and collage it into a big book. This is a free date idea that you can always come back to.

59. Seek out a special view

Is there a special location you’ve been dying to drive to but haven’t made the time for? Now is your chance! Be it a sunset, flower field, park, waterfall, or hiking spot, seek out the special view with your date. [Read: 21 heartfelt ways to show someone you care & make them feel loved]

60. Test-drive your dream car

This is probably the most thrilling way to window-shop. Even if you and your date aren’t looking to purchase a car anytime soon, go to a dealership and pretend that you are in the market for one. Test drive cars together and feel like kings for the day.

[Read: Perfect date – 36 secrets to be a good date, plan an ideal one & impress them]

Free dates don’t have to be boring. Just because you aren’t spending an excess of cash doesn’t mean you are being cheap. You can impress your date with a romantic date without spending any money at all!

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life. And while you’re at it, check out MIRL, a cool new social networking app that connects experts and seekers!

Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...